A transitional month up north, with snow beginning to disappear and signs of life emerging after the long winter. Down south, spring is in full flow. A rewarding time to visit the southern capitals.

Aalborg Carnival, Denmark

In late May, Aalborg kicks up its heels hosting the biggest Carnival celebrations in northern Europe, when up to 100,000 participants and spectators shake their maracas and paint the town red.

Bergen International Festival, Norway

One of the biggest events on Norway's cultural calendar, this two-week festival, beginning in late May, showcases dance, music and folklore presentations, some international, some focusing on traditional local culture.

Reykjavík Arts Festival, Iceland

Running for two weeks from late May to June in even-numbered years, this wide-ranging festival sees Iceland's capital taken over by theatre performances, films, lectures and music.